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Human Rights Watch lambasted Islamic State (Isis) militants for their atrocities yesterday and linked the group’s foundation and fanaticism directly to the US-driven war in Iraq.
The criticism came in the HRW annual report, which reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries.
The Islamic State group spreading terror in the Middle East was a product of the US-led war and military occupation of Iraq, the report said, coupled with the abuse of detainees in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison and other US-run detention centres.
HRW also criticised the Syrian and Iraqi governments over what it described as “sectarian and abusive” policies that fuel extremism.
The funding of extremist groups by Gulf states and their citizens also played a role in fuelling militancy across the volatile region, the group warned.
“Rarely has an armed force engendered such widespread revulsion and opposition,” the report said. “Yet Isis did not emerge in a vacuum,” it added.
But HRW accused the US of prioritising the war against Isis over the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The alliance has been striking Isis in Syria since September 23, and other nations’ warplanes have been waging an air campaign against the extremists in Iraq for even longer.
“This selective concern allows Isis recruiters to portray themselves to potential supporters as the only force willing to stand up to Assad’s atrocities,” HRW claimed.
It also accused the Iraqi government of relying primarily on Shi’ite militias in the fight against Isis. They are, HRW alleged, killing and cleansing Iraqi areas of Sunni civilians with impunity.
HRW also accused the international community of indifference to violations by both governments.
“If the conditions that led to Isis are left to fester, the group could deepen its hold on the two countries and expand into Lebanon, Jordan, Libya and beyond.”
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